A few months back we told you about Lofree, a mechanical wireless keyboard that attempted to bridge the gap between retro styling and modern day tech. After three years in the making, a brand by the name of Elretron has brought its own version of a vintage-style keyboard to market. After a brief stint on Kickstarter, it’s safe to say the response has been noteworthy.
With eight days remaining in its campaign, Elretron has raised nearly $400,000, which is eight times its initial goal. So what has backers in such a frenzy? Aside from its typewriter design, it comes in a variety of stylish finishes including wood. My favorite part is that the side-mounted macro bar allows users to save frequently used keys or words with a simple press.
Elretron has taken a careful approach to pay attention to many of the features adored by mechanical keyboard users. That starts with using cherry switches, which are available in blue, red and brown to fit your individual preferences.
As well, users can choose between retro-inspired keycaps or a more traditional diamond-shaped option. Having used the aformentioned Lofree myself, I can speak to the frustration that can come with a circular key. I’m glad to see that Elretron is answering the call here with true customization for backers.
Penna is shipping two models initially for Windows/Android and Mac/iOS. Both offer specific function keys that include volume, brightness and sleep controls.
Much like those popular Logitech multi-device keyboards that we love, Penna has a built-in stand for your smartphone or tablet. That’s great for composing on an iPad while at the coffee shop or just about anywhere away from home. It’s a small feature, but one that is certainly appreciated.
Back to that nifty macro bar on the side. It functions in three different ways. Moving it to the up position initiates record mode, which does just as you’d think, records your text. It rests in wait mode, while a press down of the bar puts it into transfer mode. The last of which spits out the bit of text you’d previously recorded. While Textexpander easily does this, as well (with greater functionality), it’s still a nice feature.
Like any Kickstarter project, there are reasons to be skeptical. But Elretron claims to have significant sweat equity into this product. And now, it has the capital as well. Penna starts at $99 and goes up from there depending on your customized features and design. If all goes to plan, it is slated to ship in August.
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